What do you do if you are a Christian living in an area now overrun by ISIS (say in Lebanon, Syria, or Iraq)?
According to just war theory, and at least one traditional Christian view of self-defense, one option is joining a local militia of your countrymen (or your ethnic minority, as typical in that region), take up arms, and defend the lives of your family and neighbors. ISIS constitutes a threat real and serious enough that this may be necessary, if fleeing the area is not possible.
But some Christians facing this threat are now calling for a distinctly "Christian" militia to wage a "holy" war on Islam as a means of self-defense. A Christian Call for Jihad. Here is a "rubber hits the road," situation, if I've ever seen one.
While I am more than willing to cut much slack to those whose very lives are endangered by ISIS Islamists, I cringe at the sentiments spelled out by the embattled leaders of those calling for a Christian Jihad, and a new crusade as a form of self-defense.
True love is never settled by compromise, but through bloodshed. Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) And the Christian militias who have risen up to fight the torrent of the Islamic sword that seeks to destroy their friends, their brethren, these are the ones who exemplify this eternal passage in the purest fashion.
These Christians are part of The New Militia, or the militia that foreshadows The New Crusade that is to come, in which Christendom will revive and destroy the enemies of God and the haters of the Cross, and establish the holy light over the wretched shadow of Satan’s darkness.
The Christian militias in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and other lands inflicted by the violent inflictions of Islam, are truly pioneers that cause us to foresee the advent of the most holy Crusade, in which nations of mighty Christendom will revive themselves, pick up the Cross and with Christ as their General, destroy the armies of the Antichrist.
One of the fighters mentioned in the article states,
I want to say also that the first enemy of us, isn’t Islam, the first enemy for us is the weak Christians that do not have the courage enough to spread the Bible
The Creed of these "Christian fighters" is chilling
Awaken, holy Christendom!
Blossom with your beautiful pedals in the spring of the holy fray!
Take your inheritance, O holy Christendom,
From the pagans who stole it away!
Conquer with Cross and Sword!
Fight for Heaven and Your Lord!
Drive out the Muslim!
Drive out the Sodomite!
Drive the devils away with all your might!
With zeal we fight for God
And all the saints of holy martyrdom
For the blood of glorious martyrs
Awaken, O Christendom
Islamic efforts to restore the Caliphate, now give rise to a call for a counter-balancing Christendom, in which all enemies of General Jesus have been defeated. "If they want their caliphate, we'll have our renewed Christendom." Sadly, the argument has emotional legs given the fact that modern national borders (Syria, Iraq and Lebanon) were arbitrarily drawn by the victors after World War One. The modern national boundaries which matter to us, are virtually meaningless to people whose historic ties and ideological roots go back to their ethnic communities, and to those two religious-political empires which for centuries waged war upon each other.
No doubt, the problems here are deep and beyond an immediate solution, but calls for a restored Caliphate or a renewed Christendom, only guarantee continuing violence and bloodshed.
Very bad things often happen when people find themselves in dire straights--the threats these Christians face real and unlike anything I'll ever likely face. But when a legitimate case for armed self-defense is transformed into a call for a "Holy War" and a "New Crusade," it is apparent that the two kingdoms have been hopelessly confused, and the situation illustrates that until NATO and/or the UN can restore the peace, the temptation to wage war and kill your enemies in the name of Jesus will surely continue.
Self-defense and protection of your neighbor is required in the face ISIS-led bloodshed. But Jihad, "Holy War" and a restored Christendom have little to do with legitimate self-defense.